Write-in candidacy repeats
scenario of Campaign 2012
The future I envision is one where we celebrate our rich diversity and the rejuvenation of our wonderful city! It is one in which businesses thrive, property values increase, taxes get cut, jobs come back, streets stay safe, beaches are clean, and one in which our city is the envy of New England. When people talk about West Haven, they’re going to say, “This is where I belong!” That’s what we’re working for, and I know you believe that this is a future worth fighting for!
This vision and this future, is why I am formally declaring my write-in candidacy for Mayor of West Haven!
For the second time in recent history, a defeated candidate in the city’s Democratic Party primary has asked for the voters of the community to write-in his name on Election Day. It was four years ago a defeated John M. Picard determined he would put his name in as a write-in candidate in a last-ditch effort to topple eventual winner Edward M. O’Brien. The city’s Republicans had put up a candidate, but it was not expected he would draw too many votes.
O’Brien won, but not before Picard gave him a difficult time.
At the time Picard made his announcement O’Brien’s campaign decried the move as a renunciation of the voters’ will and betrayal of the party. Picard, meanwhile, defended his move as one that would continue to “move the city forward,” against the O’Brien camp, which would move the city in a direction that would return the city to an earlier, and more backward, direction.
Here we are four years later, and as Yogi Berra was once heard to say, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Taking his cue from Picard’s playbook, Mayor O’Brien has called the possibility of a win by primary winner Nancy Rossi or, much worse, Republican David Riccio, a move backward. It is his vision that must be preserved in order for the city to thrive.
Rossi, for her part, is playing O’Brien’s role from four years ago, and calling her erstwhile primary opponent deceitful and ignoring of the will of the voters. Riccio, meanwhile, is working for his own victory and letting the internecine problems within the Democratic Party to play out.
Stripped away from all its visionary language and manufactured outrage, this move is just another manifestation of the tripartite split within the city’s majority party that has existed for more than seven decades in some form or other. Over the last 30 years, especially, that split (with the exception of the one-term Republican Clemente Evangeliste), has seen power seesaw between the factions, with one faction facing off against the other two.
When it comes to the Democrats’ factionalism, it really boils down to who controls what. While the city languishes, the main focus is in who controls the spoils of victory. We hope for something different this time, but see nothing to alter the patterns of recent history.
The voters will make the decision. Picard spent many dollars and much time trying to recapture the mayor’s office, and came close. We do not know the war chest or the campaign strategies any of the candidates plan in this three-way scenario. However, here are some things we hope to see over the next six weeks leading up to Nov. 7:
~~ How each candidate hopes to lead the city over the next two years?
~~ What their main focal points will be in that time, and with specificity?
~~ Definitive time frames for development and completion of any projects;
~~ A plan for balancing the city’s budget;
~~ A plan for reducing city costs and consolidation of services.
The voters of the city will decide. We hope over the next six weeks real solutions to the city’s problems will be offered. Rossi has won her party’s nomination and must now turn from attack to leadership mode. Mayor O’Brien must not only defend his record, but convince people the city will be better off two years from now. Riccio must offer a program of change with new vision and new solutions.
The next six weeks should be interesting, and, if we know this city, not without its surprises and political intrigue. But now is about the next two years.
We hope to hear something exciting and new.